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Feature Film

Speed Racer Trailer


Once I saw this image (above) of Spritle and Chim Chim, I had the feeling the filmmakers were on the right track (pun intended).

And then I saw the trailer – and I think the Wachowski’s have nailed it. I’m not a fan of live action versions of cartoon shows (think Underdog, Scooby Doo, Josie and the Pussycats, Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Magoo and on and on), but the Brothers Wachowski’s forthcoming live action Speed Racer movie is lookin’ very good to me. It’s the 60s Japanese cartoon come alive in a candy-colored, pop art way, not seen since Adam West’s Batman series from 1966. I’m sure there are some purists out there who will feel the subject isn’t being treated as seriously as they would like. To those people I say: Get over it. It’s not Jonny Quest or even 8th Man. It’s Speed Racer!

I have no idea if the film is any good. It’ll be out in May and we can all judge it then. In the meantime this looks like a lot of fun. And thank goodness Chim Chim is a real chimp, not a CG animated blob. Watch the trailer here and see more still images here.

  • Go Speed Racer..Go Speed Racer..Go Speed Racer, GOOOOOOOO!

  • Paul N

    When the jacks came out for the flip, and the old sound effect was there, I was sold. The Wachowskis have my $10…

  • purin

    Wow, this is… so well done and so good, yet also so disturbing. It’s horrifying in that awesome way. Even if it turns out to be a horrible film, it’ll be a well done horrible film.

  • Am I the only one that thought the effects were terribly cartoony and video gamey compared the live action elements? I guess I’m just missing the point or something but a lot of things in this trailer just didn’t mesh well to me.

  • Andrew

    You guys sure? I was expecting this to be much more grounded in reality, but then, this is the Wachowski’s we’re talking about- it looks like a campy film, but a GOOD campy film. The race sequences look like a Dr. Seuss ride at Universal.

  • I have a kid with a mid-May birthday and it’s not every year something I can sit through comes out for birthday party viewing. I really can’t imagine much in Indiana Jones and the Wretched of the Earth and, though compelling, Iron Man doesn’t quite look like a film one would want to be sitting through with a dozen 9 year-olds.

    This could be the best May movie since Cars. PLEASE!

  • “Move it Speed, it’s getting ugly out there!”

    it sure is.

  • Just another crap live action film based on yet another crap cartoon of yesteryear. Why has our industry been taken over “straights”?

  • Just another crap live action film based on yet another crap cartoon of yesteryear. Why has our indusrty been taken over by “straights”?

  • I saw the trailer on ET last night and my husband and I were cracking up. The tongue could not be more firmly in cheek for this movie. Unabashed camp is the order of the day for Speed Racer and I think this movie will deliver in spades.

    What on earth IS there to take seriously with Speed Racer, anyway? The original cartoon was ridiculously silly, and I think the movie totally runs with that, parodies the crap out of it and makes it fun. John Goodman could not be more perfectly cast as Pops.

  • Looks like a lot of fun! I think there is a nice blend of live action with a cartoony feel. Looks campy, too!

  • Mike

    This actually has me pretty excited! As a lifelong Speed fan, I was thrilled to hear it was being made into a feature film, even when Johnny Depp was originally being mentioned for the part of Speed. When I learned the Wachowski’s were directing, I was hooked, knowing that they were big fans of the genre. The casting is perfect, with everyone looking very much like their cartoon counterpart, although I do wish John Goodman could’ve tried to at least SOUND like Pops Racer, instead of like himself. Still, I like the way that everything from foreground to background is in sharp focus, just like the cartoon, and I have no problem with the candy-coated look they gave to everything. Also, like Paul N said, when the jacks popped out accompanied by the familiar sound effect, I knew my money was as good as spent! “Go Speed Racer, Go” indeed!

  • Tony C

    Isn’t “terribly cartoony” an oxymoron? There are few things on earth that excited me more than Speed Racer when I was Spritle’s age and I agree with Jerry. The Wachowski’s have nailed it.

  • Peter

    I thought this was the ugliest trailer I’d seen since Spy Kids 3 or Lavaboy & Sharkgirl (exhibit A & B for why Hell isn’t hot enough for Robert Rodriguez). I’m frankly amazed that anyone *could* like this trailer. I saw it in postage stamp size and hope to avoid ever being assaulted by it on a movie screen.

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m no Speed Racer purist or anything; the source material is Superfriends-level junk, but WOW does this movie look bad. I’m thinking about canceling cable before next summer so my kids don’t see any TV ads for it.

  • Dustin

    When I first heard they were making this into a live action picture I almost wrapped myself up in dynamite and lit the fuse. Now after viewing the trailer, it actually looks quite promising. It’s beautifully vibrant with what appears to be plenty of action and obligatory silliness from Spritle and Chim Chim. The only thing that’s questionable judging by the trailer is the melodrama.

  • What ever else could be said about it one way or the other, the casting looks dead-on. I adored Speed Racer when I was very small, and so far it seems like an apt and well considered, fun tribute.

  • I, too, feel the same way about humans doing toons!! However, the (2) Flinstones’ were very good, I found!

  • Bear in mind that the shots are far from done (compositing is way off) because it’s a trailer. I’m sure it will look better once the movie is out. And I’m sure the chimp will get some CG help. :)

  • Chris Sobieniak

    This is going to be one of those I’ll be half-and-half on I’m sure! So far the action and concept look very current to suit that usual newbie tastes out there, but on the other, it’s got the aesthetics down pat to make me not write this one off as being a typical lame adaptation, more so I found those moments far more what I got out of watching the original show itself more than the action. We’ll just have to wait and find out.

  • Sarah

    I can’t seem to make up my mind whether or not this movie is good. When I was a kid I watched Speed Racer re-runs late at night on cartoon network or really early in morning on the WB.

    Speed Racer was the first anime I ever saw and I loved it. After watching the trailer I squealed like a little girl again. It’s campy, colorful, and awesome. But Hollywood have destroyed a lot of shows and comic book I loved when I was younger. The Hulk, Spiderman 3, the Punisher, Ghost Rider, etc.

    I’m willing to give it a shot but I’ll be biting my nails in the theater seat.

  • Greg

    Huh. Well, it’s more compelling than Beowulf, anyways.

  • Andrew N

    I was expecting this movie to be Grand Prix with the Mach 5. It’s not. It’s Speed Racer.

    My only complaint, so far, is that the cartoon used much more pale colours, but I’ll wait to see more of it. I’m surprised, in a good way.

  • This wont win any Oscars, but I have to say, I’m glad they are using cartoony CGI and not trying for some dark gritty realism ala Grand Turismo.

  • The beauty of this “vehicle” is that there is no standard to live up to with Speed Racer. If there are SR purists out there (how scary is that?) then they deserve whatever jolt from their personal fantasy prison they get. Personally, I wish they’d used dubbed character voices and a darker vision but any film featuring a monkey just makes my heart sing.

    I’m sure it’ll be better than The Matrix, at any rate.

    As it is, there’s definitely an impulse-buy candy gloss treatment which should bode well with the gooey confections and tons of popcorn that’ll be consumed by fans and the perversely curious alike.

  • Nathan Strum

    I recently watched through the whole series (on DVD) for the first time in many, many years. Some of the episodes were great, some awful. It’s hard to tell from the trailer, but it looks like they’re earnestly trying to capture the essence of the original show. I hope it works. I think it could be a lot of fun. The original show had more than its share of melodrama, but the races were always fun, and if they focus on those, then we could be in for a great ride. I’m not really keen on seeing a Mach 6 (being a purist of sorts), but as long as they have: The opening-sequence dramatic-music freeze-frame, a drum-solo fight scene, the Mach 5 chopping stuff down with its giant buzz-saws, Speed yelling “Oooohhhh!!!”, silly character names, and lots of cool-looking (and cool-sounding) cars, I’m all for it.

    Now if only they could include the Car Acrobatic Team…

  • Nancy B

    What a stupid looking movie. I guess this is what you get when you decide that loud noises, fast cars, and special effects take priority over acting, competent storytelling, and actual content. Maybe it’s due to the writer’s strike. But then it would have been produced beforehand. So someone ‘wrote’ this?

  • Geez, doesn’t anyone appreciate camp anymore? Do we have to take every cartoon seriously now?

    I think it looks like a lot of fun!

  • Neil

    aye, thank god it’s a real chimp. because after all, infant chimp “actors” who are casually discarded after they get too strong to keep as pets are preferable to some jar-jar-esque buffoonery.

    Sorry, i really can’t ever defend the use of chimp actors. It’s just not cricket.

    not having a go, just thought i’d put that out there

  • Kelly Tindall

    Can’t wait! Looks wonderful.

  • Billy Batz

    The only thing they nailed was the look of the crappy Dick Tracy movie.This thing looks like those video composite bubble yum commercials, or the video for the Cars ‘you might think’ .Why can’t they even play the whole theme during the commercial?(tangent:just like in the Michael Bay Transformers, the classic transformation sound effect was used ONCE in the opening action scene and never again. Are they afraid to pay the original creators or what?) Why is the racetrack rainbow videogame style?

    Go on location and film on real ground, then you’ll have the look. I’m getting too crazy, gotta stop.

  • my eyes just threw up.

  • Mika T.

    This is going to be a massive box-office failure. Like people mentioned above, i too think it looks like one of those horrible Spy Kids -films, and since this is based on a cartoon that’s not that well known in Europe, it will not make big bucks outside the US. Here in Finland this will go straight to DVD… (I DO however like the fact that Emile Hirsch is in this. He’s a good actor. But the movie looks crappy and cheap and aimed at american 9 year olds. And don’t get me started on Pixars “Cars” – somehow it came as a suprise to the studio that a film about some American carracethingy called NASCAR would not perhaps do so well abroad?!? Where’s market research when you need one…)

  • I will say, I am kind of tired of the cliche premise of the family dynamics shown in this trailer, but I will join those who are SO excited for this…the campyness is actually perfect for such a campy cartoon, I’m surprised others are taking review too seriously. Loved all the “anime-esque” shots and speed-blurs behind the characters. I’ll have my seat in the theater for this.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Wow! That was bright! I think I blew out some rods and cones watching that!

  • Steve Gattuso

    It bemuses me to see that the complaints about this thing come from the same two camps that were out in force this year over the “Transformers” movie:

    Camp A: HOW DARE THEY RUIN MY CHILDHOOD! Well, here’s a trick, thickies. Any attempt to invoke childhood nostalgia has to be tempered with the fact that “Speed Racer” was and still is one of the most god-awful series that ever hit syndication. Don’t try to tell me I wasn’t around then, I just turned 44 last Thanksgiving. I grew up with the thing on Channel 52 in Los Angeles and even then I was more entertained by the lack of animation, garish colors, and astonishingly bad lip-synching that didn’t work even in the original Japanese than anything else about the show. Complaints about “getting it right” are as crazy as “Gourmet” magazine running a six-page article decrying the downfall of the McRib. Just sit back and relax and be grateful that Uwe Boll didn’t get his hands on it.

    Camp B: HOW CAN THEY WASTE MONEY MAKING CRAP? Remember that this is a summer release. The intended audience are 14-year olds of all ages, and sorry if they aren’t enamored of going to a revival theater and catching that Sergei Eisenstein festival. The execs at WB need _something_ to pay for their mistress’ third tit job and a quiet romantic comedy just isn’t going to cut it. They’d rather leave their versions of Gabriel García Márquez’ latest story for Oscar time near the holidays. Now go off and chew some tree bark for a while until “Sweeney Todd” comes out, because it’s supposed to be balls-droppingly fantastic and will make you forget all about remakes of cheesy anime shows from the 70’s for at least a few hours.

  • Heh, it looks pretty decent. I agree with a previous commenter, they should’ve told John Goodman to TALK LIKE POPS. It would’ve nailed the movie right there.

    I’ll go see it, but not for $10. :)

  • tom

    This looks great! And it doesn’t apologize for the source material, which is nice for a change.

    The colors are great too. Weren’t you getting sick of all of the gray/blue gray/black action movies? It’s time for a change, and maybe this is it.

  • Some Guy

    Wow, I hate to give those Wachowskis any credit, but this actually looks good. It looks like a video game crossed with the original speed racer. Looks innovative.

    Maybe they’ll mkae a cool Jonny Quest movie after this. Frankie Muniz would have been perfect if it had been done whne he was a kid. Brad Pitt as Race, George Clooeny as Dr. Quest.

  • Kris

    Wow, some people are REALLY mad that this movie exists.

    Looks like it could be fun. I didn’t really like Speed Racer as a kid, but this looks like a pretty entertaining movie.

  • Spock Foolish

    Sorry guys, but that looks like a totally fun, goofball blast to me, just like the original series.

    Now if only they had cast Butch Hartman as Speed… ;)

  • I ca’t wait for the live action version of Bucky and Pepito.

  • It’s camp but it looks like good camp – but why does it seem like John Goodman is in every cartoon to movie adaption?

  • BJ Wanlund

    This looks like fun, guys. This looks better than Underdog (puke) and Scooby-Doo (double puke) combined.

    The Wachowskis got my $10 in the bank. I’m DEFINITELY seeing this one! (After I see Indy…heh…)

  • c.tower

    It looks like a love letter…to a very bad cartoon. I’m serious about BOTH parts of that, too. I can’t understand WHY anyone would love that show, but I’m happy that they’re the ones making the film. (I hope someday I’ll get to see a similar love letter to a cartoon I care about… )

  • Keith Paynter

    Well, folks, Baby Geniuses 3 is in pre-production and the earth is still here, so Speed Racer ain’t gonna hurt anybody.

    Never really got into the show in my youth (not a big anime or Japanimation fan here – tried Akira but couldn’t stick with it – sorry…), and when the SPEED network ran it a while back I passed it over again. For the fans who get it, go nuts and enjoy yourself

  • C. Tower is right on, the show is visually disturbing. They stayed faithful to the original “vision” and if people fail to recognize that it’s just ugly, well, they need to probably investigate artwork made past this century.

    Upside, more work for you and me right?

  • Ogg

    I always thought the original show was ridiculous. This movie looks awesome, even if it’s going to be campy. I’d rather have a silly movie that doesn’t try to be anything other than silly, instead of something silly pretending to be serious.

    For that matter, I thought the 2000 Rocky & Bullwinkle was terrific.

  • tom

    c.tower, I can absolutely feel what you are talking about. It is a mash note more than an adaptation. I happen to love that show, but I came to it in my late twenties when MTV started showing it at night. It’s Kirbyesque in its sincerity- the world of Speed Racer revolves around racing, and it makes you buy into those rules. I think it’s kind of beautiful in it’s limited animation and simplicity- like the haiku version of animation.

    Maybe it’s just the mescaline talking, but I think it’s stood the test of time for a reason, and unlike Scooby Doo, it never took its audience for granted. The shows aren’t dumbed down for kids at all, and that might be the case with the Wachowski take, we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > oscar grillo says:
    > I ca’t wait for the live action version of Bucky and Pepito.


    > Nancy B says:
    > What a stupid looking movie. I guess this is what you get when you decide that loud noises, fast cars, and special effects take priority over acting, competent storytelling, and actual content. Maybe it’s due to the writer’s strike. But then it would have been produced beforehand. So someone ‘wrote’ this?

    It’s amazing the things that get wrote into movies nowadays.

    Someone in another forum I belong to already felt the Wachowski’s must’ve seen “The Running Man” sequence from “Neo Tokyo” as inspiration for one of the race tracks seen in that trailer, I thought of that the first moment I saw it happen.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I don’t understand anyone who wails that this movie will “ruin their childhood”. SPEED RACER was and always will be a stupid, awful cartoon with terrible production values. It’s notimmune from remakes just because it’s animated and “a classic”

  • Go SpeedRacer-GO!- Straight to home video… Just joshin’– it looks good– just keep the candy locked up from the kid and the chimp!

  • The racing sequences look like they’d make an excellent video game. A movie though? Hmm..it’s like the Fast and the Furious for kids. The acting looks terrible, but then again so was the acting in the cartoon, so they’ve definatly nailed it =)

  • Alex

    I think this looks funny. Why complain, eh?

  • This does look fairly colourful and fun [which a lot of comic/cartoon adaptions overlook sometimes], with a fair amount of action. I’m definitely going to be checking it out, it looks like it’ll be full of some very stylized special effects animation [when you can do whatever you want with special effects, who needs the restrictions of realism? Some Green Screen madness for me, please!].

  • Alex

    ‘I’m sure there are some purists out there who will feel the subject isn’t being treated as seriously as they would like. To those people I say: Get over it. It’s not Jonny Quest or even 8th Man. It’s Speed Racer!’

    That phrase is funny for reasons it might’ve not been intended for.

  • CB

    The only thing that struck me in this trailer is all the good guys are white and it appears like the bad guys are asians (mostly). I thought the wachowski brothers were highly respectful of the asian cultures. They don’t do that kind of bad stereotype casting with black people anymore (at least nowhere near as much), why do it to any other ethnicity?

    Yeah, i understand the japanese themselves do this in manga, but it’s just sad that hollywood thinks it still can get away with this kind of thing. Asians in hollywood need more positive roles because right now they are still either villians, delivery boys, or asian “magical negros” (look it up on wikipedia). If the only positive lead role asians have so far is Harold and Kumar, they’ve got a long way to go.

  • Whut

    This movie just looks like junk. It has no 60s feel to it. There is no presence of creative art direction past what was displayed in The Fast and the Furious. Come on you people…the opening of the trailer…the old theme music kicks in…awesome. Then we are blasted with a giant techno fart. Plus a spiraling 3D texture rape of my eyeballs in a back alley. There are glimpses of what could have been…some cool looking villains. Racer X is tough to poop up…but why do we have to see his face at the end? He fights too. That’s the most mysterious cool character in the show and the trailer ruined that by showing him do just about everything he will do in the movie. Besides revealing that he is Speed’s brother…I just saved your $10.

    Can’t believe there is praise for this movie. It’s spaghetti without sauce. Wish I had your beer goggles.

  • opimus

    I have mixed feelings about the trailer. The movie tie in I want are the tv episodes subtitled and uncut on dvd.

  • Dunno. I’ve only seen one episode of the TV in my life (with the CAT), yet I WANT to see this movie. Of course I WANTED to see the Simpsons movie, too, but couldn’t get out to it. Just bought the DVD off Amazon, sight unseen.

  • Joe P

    I can’t believe the quality of the original show is being questioned.
    Of course it was crap, even as a kid I knew that. But it has stood the test of time and has earned a permanent place in our pop culture. The show had a loopy sense of charm and my children love it as much as I did. As for the movie, you can’t tell from an early trailer what the film will be like.

  • Mr. James

    Wow! I hope this one does well at the box office because I’m rootin’ for a “Shirt Tails” live-action!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    On a more serious note…Seeing John Goodman in movies just makes me miss John Candy even more. Its a sad fact that there’s just no more big funny fat men out there to do those types of roles. I’m sure John Candy would have tried to do Pops voice justice and probably pulled it off better than Goodman. I don’t know. We’ll see. Any funny fat guys I’m missing? I don’t count Will Ferrell!

  • Booooooooooooooooooooooring

  • Chupa

    I don’t think Speed Racer was “crap.” I loved the voice work and music on the American version– some very talented people. Kurt Cobain knew every word of the theme song and used to sing it for fun. Speed Racer is mythic. This movie version is “crap.” It looks like that terrible neon Batman movie that everyone hated. It would be impossible for this film to be even slightly good.

  • Mr. Hargovvindas

    I liked it until I realized that the dialog wasn’t delivered in that crazy, stilted “AHA WE ARE TOO CHEAP TO EDIT THE ANIMATION TO PROPERLY SYNC THE VOICES! AHA! pattern.

  • john

    excuse me while I clean the turd out of my eyes. jeez… could someone in hollywood please, just once, make an original film? I don’t care how “cool” something looks or how the directors “nail” the source material… isn’t it time to move beyond remakes, sequels and cartoon-to-live action films? or is originality too much to ask?

  • da bro

    who cares if Cobain knew the words to the theme song? my god, that’s a freaking lame thing to say. if you liked the original show, fine. just don’t name drop someone you prolly didn’t even know in person.